Try imagining modern day society without the advancement of pharmaceuticals, where bacterial infections could mean death! Luckily, this sort of situation is now unfathomable because of the existence of pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceuticals facilitate the treatment of a variety of diseases and ailments in humans and animals. Diseases that were once death sentences are now preventable and treatable. The pharmaceutical industry researches and develops new drugs thus empowering medical practitioners and patients to chose the medication best suited for the patient’s predicament.
However, along this modern medicine journey, the United States has become the most medicated country on earth. We are suffering a silent epidemic: the over use and abuse of pharmaceuticals which includes both prescription drugs and antibiotics (National Institute on Drug Abuse). In my opinion, the blame lies in the hands of the multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry known as Big Pharma. For my project I want to expose the grip that Big Pharma has on our country’s public health by investigating its influence in the three following arenas: government, the doctors’ office and the agriculture industry.
First, I am going to examine the industry’s influence on the government. It’s no secret that corporations spend billions of dollars lobbying in order to gain favorability from lawmakers. However, I was surprised when I learned that the pharmaceutical industry spends the most in influencing members of government (Potter). I want to examine how the industry’s clout has affected the country’s public health through the mechanisms of laws and policies.
Second, I want to investigate the industry’s influence in the doctors’ office meaning physicians and patients. Approximately 70% of America’s population is taking some form of prescription drugs (National Institute on Drug Abuse). I propose that the Big Pharma’s kickbacks to doctors as well as their intrusive advertising contribute to this alarming rate.
Third, about 80% of all purchased antibiotics in the country are not consumed by people but are used for food-producing animals (Bittel). In turn, I want to analyze the relationship between Big Pharma and the agriculture industry, particularly the meat industry. Public health studies have shown that an increased use of antibiotics in animals has and will continue to lead to drug-resistant bacteria, or superbugs, which are a serious threat to human health.
For this project, I used a variety of sources. I will utilize science-based text to highlight Big Pharma’s implications on public health. I will also make use of the plethora of existing news articles that investigate Big Pharma’s power.
Bittel, Jason. “FDA’s pitiful plea to Big Pharma: Cut back on antibiotics in meat, please.” Salon, 15 Dec. 2013. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.
Drake, Daniela. “Big Pharma Is America’s New Mafia.” The Daily Beast, 2 Feb. 2015. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.
“Popping Pills: Prescription Drug Abuse in America.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, Jan. 2014. Web. 3 Nov, 2015
Potter, Wendall. “Big Pharma’s stranglehold on Washington.” The Center for Public Integrity. 11 Feb. 2013. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.